Visante Hospital & Health Systems Services president, Jim Stevenson (PharmD, FASHP), was honored with the Excellence Innovation Award by the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) during their annual convention in Detroit. His project has received national recognition, including a Cheers Award in 2014 from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

For the past several years, Stevenson has served as the project lead on a statewide initiative to standardize the compounding of oral liquid medications for pediatric use. This initiative, conducted in collaboration with MPA and funded by the US Food and Drug Administration, involved surveying pharmacists across Michigan to gain a better understanding for the variability in compounding practices for oral liquids throughout the state. In Michigan, more than half of the compounded drugs had at least three different concentrations being compounded by various pharmacies, with some concentration levels up to thirtyfold higher than others, according to information collected from more than 200 participating pharmacies.

After surveying pharmacists, the project workgroup collaborated with health care providers to determine standard concentrations for a range of medications through the assessment of concentrations that pharmacies were compounding and determination of whether the concentration would meet the needs of the majority of patients. The workgroup also required that there was published literature to support the formulation. Formulations were then assessed for shelf stability and feasibility (ease of obtaining ingredients and compounding). Proposed standard concentrations were endorsed by task forces involving prescribers and pharmacists.

The third phase of the initiative was to create a website and other communication tools to disseminate information on the standard concentrations. The site, available at, should be consulted as a source document for standardized concentrations and to obtain a formulation sheet for each of the medications that require compounding. Before this initiative, there was no standardization of the concentrations of these oral liquids allowing for significant variation in concentrations compounded and volumes of products to be administered, leading to potentially serious medication errors.

To be deserving of this award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. a pharmacist or team of pharmacists must demonstrate an innovative pharmacy practice program that results in improved patient care.

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